Academic Research

Study | “I Know What You Did Last Sunday” Finds Americans Significantly Inflate Religious Participation


A new PRRI study, “I Know What You Did Last Sunday: Measuring Social Desirability Bias in Self-Reported Religious Behavior, Belief, and Belonging,” shows that every subgroup of Americans measured over-reports their levels of religious participation, with young adults, Catholics and white mainline Protestants particularly likely to inflate the frequency of their attendance at religious services.

Book Chapter | A World of Atheism: Global Demographics


Today, nonbelievers are estimated to comprise seven percent of the world’s population, but who are they? In a chapter for The Oxford Handbook of Atheism co-written by a PRRI research associate, the authors sketch a profile of a typical global nonbeliever: a young, educated man who’s likely to make his home in northern Europe, Japan, or communist and formerly communist nations.

Book Chapter | Religion, Politics, and Polarization: How Religiopolitical Conflict is Changing Congress and American Democracy


In, “Toeing the Party Line: The Increasing Influence of Partisanship among White Protestants and White Catholics,” PRRI CEO Robert P. Jones and Research Director Daniel Cox offer a new look at partisan polarization occurring among white Christians over abortion and homosexuality. The chapter appears in a new collected volume, Religion, Politics and Polarization, edited by William D’Antonio, Steven Tuch and Josiah Baker.

Book Chapter | Religion and the American Presidency (The Evolving American Presidency)


Throughout American history, presidents have been shaped and influenced by their religious faith. Yet this remains an element that many presidential histories treat peripherally or ignore altogether. In Religion and the American Presidency (The Evolving American Presidency), which features essays on George Washington, Ronald Reagan, Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy, and others, scholars explore this largely unappreciated factor in presidents’ lives and actions. This updated version features a new chapter […]

Book Chapter | Faith and Race in American Political Life


Synopsis Two defining elements of American political life are race and religion. These do not work in isolation but, rather, are constantly in conversation with one another. Indeed, in U.S. history each category has effectively been employed to make meaning of the other, often recreating American politics in the process. Through the intersection of race and religion Americans define political and personal identities, cultural affiliations, and political and religious institutions—all […]

Book Chapter | Ethnography as Christian Theology and Ethics


Synopsis In response to a variety of critical intellectual currents (post-colonial, post-modern, and post-liberal) scholars in Christian theology and ethics are increasingly taking up the tools of ethnography as a means to ask fundamental moral questions and to make more compelling and credible moral claims. Privileging particularity, rather than the more traditional effort to achieve universal or at least generalizable norms in making claims regarding the Christian life, echoes the […]

Book Chapter | Faith, Politics, and Sexual Diversity in Canada and the United States


Synopsis The recent agitation of lesbians, gays, and other sexual minorities for political recognition has provoked a heated response among religious activists, many of whom fear that moral decay is a necessary accompaniment to the public recognition of sexual diversity. In this remarkable comparative study, expert authors explore the tenacity of anti-gay sentiment, as well as the dramatic shifts in public attitudes towards gay and lesbian groups across all faith […]

Conference Paper | Measuring the Unaffiliated in Survey Research


Non-believers, Seculars, the Un-churched and the Unaffiliated: Who are Non-religious Americans and How do we Measure them in Survey Research This paper was presented at the annual conference of the American Association of Public Opinion Research in May 2009. The bulk of research conducted by public opinion scholars on the subject of religion and politics has consistently focused on the largest religious groups: Catholics, white evangelical Protestants, black Protestants and white mainline […]

Book | Progressive and Religious: How Christian, Jewish, and Buddhist Leaders are Moving Beyond the Culture Wars and Transforming American Public Life


Synopsis In recent years, Americans have become frustrated with the troubled relationship between religion and politics: an exclusive claim on faith and values from the right and a radical divorce of faith from politics on the left. Now a new generation of religious leaders is re-envisioning religion in public life, leading grassroots movements to go beyond partisan politics to work for a more just and inclusive society. Progressive & Religious tells the dynamic […]

Book | Liberalism’s Troubled Search for Equality: Religion and Cultural Bias in the Oregon Debates over Physician-Assisted Suicide


Synopsis In Liberalism’s Troubled Search for Equality, Robert P. Jones presents a penetrating examination of physician-assisted suicide that exposes unresolved tensions deep within liberal political theory. Jones asks why egalitarian liberal philosophers—most notably, Ronald Dworkin and John Rawls—support legalized physician-assisted suicide in direct opposition to groups of disadvantaged citizens they theoretically champion. Jones argues that egalitarian liberals ought to oppose physician-assisted suicide—at least until we find the political will to ensure […]